A 20-year-old denied murdering a 15-year-old schoolboy by stabbing him in the neck with a pair of scissors.

Connor McMath is accused of attacking Sean Ford at Charles Street, Wishaw, on March 7.

At the High Court in Glasgow McMath’s QC Donald Findlay entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client who appeared via a video link.

No trial can be set at present because of the ongoing Covid 19 crisis and Mr Finlay asked for bail for McMath, who is on remand awaiting trial.

He said: “There are trials scheduled for the end of this month, but there are no further trials fixed after that. The system is choosing not to hold murder trials. It is the end of September before the fixing of a trial can even be contemplated.

“We have to do better and that is to fix trial diets. It is long past time for us to still be kicking the can down the road.

“I invited the court to fix a trial and if the Crown cannot accommodate that to release Mr McMath on bail.”

Prosecutor Greg Farrell said: “The Crown are anxious to fix trials and proceed to trial as soon as we can.”

Mr Farrell said that bail was opposed and judge Lord Mulholland refused McMath’s application for bail.

McMath also faces a further charge along with Derek Paton, 18, from Wishaw.

They are charged with assaulting a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to the danger of his life at a house in Charles Street, Wishaw, on March 7.

It is alleged they repeatedly struck him on the head with a knuckleduster and kicked and punched him on the head and body, rendering him unconscious.

Paton, who is on bail, was not in court for the hearing

Both accused deny the charges against them.

A further hearing will take place in September.